The Blackhawks improved to 2-0-0 without Patrick Sharp on Thursday night with a dominating 5-2 win over the struggling Minnesota Wild.
And once again, it was the team’s rookies leading the way to victory.
Devin Setoguchi opened the scoring for the Wild in the first period, but from there it was all Hawks. Andrew Shaw scored his second goal of the season and the teams skated to a 1-1 tie at the end of one period.
The second period was as dominant as the Hawks have been all season. Chicago scored three goals while allowing only five Minnesota shots to reach Ray Emery. Jimmy Hayes, David Bolland and red-hot Viktor Stalberg had the tallies in the second for the Blackhawks.
Even though Kyle Brodziak added a second goal for the Wild in the third period, the game was out of teach. Bolland added a second goal into an empty net late to seal the deal.
The story once again for Chicago was the strong play of their rookies.
Hayes had a goal, one assist and tied Brent Seabrook for a team-high four hits in the game. He wound up minus-two in the game, but was still named the game’s number two star. Shaw, the game’s number three star, had his second goal of the season, one blocked shot and three hits in the game.
Stalberg stayed on fire in the game, and has continued to show confidence in his game. He scored his fourth goal in two games – surprisingly finding the net against someone other than the Blue Jackets – and was credited with a team-high three takeaways.
Bolland had a great game with three points (two goals, one assist), two blocked shots and one takeaway as well. Similarly, Michael Frolik bounced back with two assists in the game. Jamal Mayers and Nick Leddy were each credited with three hits, and Steve Montador had two assists as well.
Ray Emery returned to the lineup with another strong performance and defeated the Wild for a second time this year. He allowed only two goals against 23 shots on the night.
Chicago also scored on two of three power play opportunities.